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Next week I am flying to Gatwick airport in London, and then I must go to Abbey Wood train station (in Greenwich) which is where I am staying. I believe the easiest route is to use trains, connecting at London Bridge, but I am a bit confused with the fares. What would be the cheapest fare for this route? I am not planning to use an Oyster card for my stay as for the next 7 days I will use a Zones 1-4 Travel Card, but I also wouldn't like to burn one of my travel card days for this journey (I will arrive late at night, so I don't see a point of getting one day less on my travel card for a single journey). Is there an option to buy a ticket for this route only (so no 1 day ticket) without having an Oyster card? Or what would be the cheapest option for me?

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    I think your best bet is probably actually an oyster card, you get travelcrad prices there too. – CMaster Sep 20 '16 at 20:02
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    Do you have a contactless bank card? You can use that as/instead of an Oystercard and get Oystercard prices on it. – Willeke Sep 20 '16 at 20:02
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    Buying a train ticket would be £17.40 for an off-peak single, or £30.50 for an off-peak return. Oyster or contactless is noticeably cheaper, at £8 each way (again, off peak), so may be cheapest even if you factor in the cost of the Oyster card. Note that you can't use a Z1-4 travel card to get to/from Gatwick, it's considerably further out than that. – djr Sep 20 '16 at 20:39
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    The advantage is that you'll have it when you arrive at Gatwick. You said you arrive late at night, but the Visitor Centre in Gatwick (which sells Oyster cards) closes at 16:00, and there aren't currently any other authorised Oyster ticket vendors there. You will be able to buy a rail ticket, of course, but as @djr noted, it would cost more without an Oyster card. – Michael Hampton Sep 20 '16 at 22:45
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    See tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/where-to-top-up-and-buy-tickets/… for a list of places where you can buy Oyster cards outside the UK. – Michael Hampton Sep 20 '16 at 22:56
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The best solution pricewise would be buying an Oyster card or getting a contactless bank card if those are cheaper to get at your bank.
You may need to buy the Oyster card before arriving in London, you certainly will need to if you want to use a Visitor Oyster card.

With an Oyster card your journey will cost you £8, (off peak,) a one way train ticket (also off peak) is £17.40.

The cost of a Visitor Oyster Card is £3 more than the credit on it, as you can see on this site. So even for a single journey you are better off using that card.
You can get any remaining credit paid out when you use a ticket machine at the end of your stay, if the stay is more than 3 days. The card will remain yours but without value. If you plan to return in the near future, or have friends who plan a London visit, you can also leave the credit on and use the card at a later date.
Credit remains valid, no end date.

If you have a contact less bank card, the same prices for travel apply, without the need to have an extra card.

All prices taken from the comments on the question, except where I put in a link.

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    If you're going to get a 7-day travelcard anyway, consider having it issued on the Oyster instead of a separate paper ticket. The price is the same, but the Oyster system will automatically switch between using the travelcard or PAYG credits depending on whether you're traveling within the travelcard's validity area. In particular, if the travelcard is still valid when you're going back to Gatwick, you would only need to pay extra for the part of that trip that's outside Z1234. – Henning Makholm Sep 21 '16 at 9:38
  • Can you put a 7 day travelcard on a visitor Oystercard? – Willeke Sep 21 '16 at 16:23
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    x @Willeke: No, Vistor Oyster cannot contain travelcards, period. (It seems to be a strictly inferior product in most other respects than being available via mail order). – Henning Makholm Sep 21 '16 at 16:28
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    One more reason to get a suitable bank card, but that might take too long. – Willeke Sep 21 '16 at 16:31
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    You can not put a travel card on it, but the contactless bank card has a monday to sunday capping build in, tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/contactless/… – Willeke Sep 23 '16 at 11:39

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